12:55 GMT +315 November 2019
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    Domestic violence

    UK Parliament Pans Poor Police Response to Domestic Violence

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    A senior group of British politicians have described as “worrying” a report that police forces responding to calls about domestic violence collected inadequate evidence that often led to “the devastating or fatal impact resulting from inadequate response”.

    The joint House of Lords and House of Commons human rights committee was deeply critical of the rise in so-called honour crimes.

    In its report, issued on February 19, it said: “We are also troubled to hear of the prevalence of unacceptable justifications for crimes, including crimes committed in the name of so-called ‘honour’. We believe this occurs in many cultures in Britain, and the Government has not done enough to tackle this.”

    The cross-party committee of MPs and Lords heard evidence that the police are not responding promptly and appropriately to allegations of violence against women and girls. In March 2014, the report from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), ‘Everyone's business: Improving the police response to domestic abuse’, said:

    "Domestic abuse is a priority on paper but, in the majority of forces, not in practice […] This stated intent is not translating into operational reality in most forces."

    "Our force inspections showed that the quality of the initial 'golden hour' investigation differs widely across forces and is often of an entirely unacceptable standard. Just as a first response officer's attitude to the victim can make a difference, the initial investigation at the scene, is critical to a successful prosecution."

    Lack of Cultural Literacy Among Police

    Campaign group Justice for Women told the committee: "Social beliefs and preconceptions about survivors of domestic and sexual violence too often result in investigating officers failing to properly conduct investigations into complaints of male violence. This is particularly true when women fail to present as a paradigm 'victim', such as when they have used drugs or alcohol, when they have previously consented to sexual activity with their attacker".

    The report concluded that a “lack of cultural literacy" amongst some frontline police officers in responding to domestic violence cases. This is one of the areas where guidance is good yet practice and delivery of training is not.

    "Chief Constables need to do more to educate frontline staff and training needs to include all types of abuse, including financial or coercive control. Chief Constables should also urgently address concerns that specialised units are not adequately resourced.”

    British Home Secretary Theresa May described HMIC's report as "depressing reading" and has written to all Chief Constables and Police and Crime Commissioners making it clear that every police force must have an action plan in place to deal specifically with domestic violence.

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